My husband and I were on a long car trip toward the beginning of our marriage and were bored out of our minds. We had a hymnbook along with us in the car and he suggested that we memorize a hymn together. To be honest, I thought it was kind of an odd idea, but I went along with it (we were newlyweds and I didn’t want to rock the boat). My attitude going into it wasn’t the best, but I was amazed at how simple a thing like singing a hymn can bring in the Spirit. My heart was touched and I fell even more in love with my husband.
I’m sure you’ve guessed that the hymn we chose to memorize was “Now Let Us Rejoice,” hymn #3 in the current hymnal. Also frequently sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, this song helps us to remember that promises were made to us and the Lord will fulfill each of those promises, and it is up to us to do our part in the bargain.
The Saints had been driven from place to place, persecuted by mobs, devastated by death, and martyred for their beliefs. One particularly touching line in this hymn reads: “When all that was promised the Saints will be given, and none will molest them from morn until eve.” What a comforting thought this must have been—that someday they would be protected from the constant harassment they’d had to endure.
This hymn was written by William W. Phelps in 1833 shortly after a mob came into Independence, Missouri, and threw Brother Phelps’ wife and baby out into the street, destroyed the press which was housed on the upper floor of the home, and burned all the books and papers inside. Later, over two hundred homes were given much the same treatment. This brutal incident was the inspiration for this powerfully comforting song, which was also sung at the dedication of the Kirtland temple. I’m so amazed at Brother Phelps’ ability to look past the horrendous treatment he and his family had suffered and to concentrate on the blessings that would arise from the trial.